My Introduction as published in Prison to Photography
I picked up some bits and pieces of Seun’s story from his articles when we met in 2018. I didn’t have the full picture; the details about why he went to prison and all that transpired as a result.
When I learned he planned to write his story, From
Prison to Photography, I knew I would be one of the first readers of
the book because I was already intrigued by his personality and believed
knowing his story would give me a better insight into who he is and the things
Then one day he shocked me. “Uzezi, I have decided that you
should be the one to write my story,” he said to me. I remember that Saturday
in 2019. We were both attending the curriculum review meeting of our class at
Daystar Christian Centre as we are both teachers at the Junior Church, and we
were standing outside the class of Little Stars 7.
Beyond being excited about the opportunity, I felt honoured.
He was going to let me into that vulnerable place to tell me his story. And he
did. How you feel when you’re writing your story alone is different from when
you’re narrating the same story to someone else. Your emotions, intentions and
your truths are laid out.
When you sing to yourself in the bathroom, you pay little
attention to how you sound. It’s just you and you’re not afraid of being
yourself. But facing an audience is bravery. You are vulnerable enough to let
go, to be seen or heard as you are, unsure of the reception or what the critics
would say. And this is exactly what Seun did. As he narrated, I took a trip
with him back in time and became not only a spectator but also a pupil because
Seun’s story is an institution where I had to unlearn things I thought I knew
to learn a different acceptance.
Each time, while listening to the audio files we recorded,
while transcribing and developing the story,
I was struck afresh by the magnitude of Seun’s experience and
appreciated the strength in his seeming weakness as a defenceless prisoner, and
the child no parent wants to have. Then, I would arrive at one of the reasons
why I agreed to take on this project with him ― The turnaround.
More than anything, that was the story I was interested in.
Fallen so deep, coated with layers of shame and finding the strength to peel
back layer after layer despite the sting to get back up, is what this book is
Jentezen Franklin, in one of his sermons, said “Goliaths
don’t show up till you enter the territory God has promised you … The presence
of a giant is proof that you have entered your promised land.”
Ironically, the prison became the path that stirred Seun into
the future he is living today. He wouldn’t have it without going to prison and
defeating the giants. His story has made me more appreciative of challenges
because each one of them has a purpose.
I am glad to have been a part of this project that would impact
many lives positively. This gives me a feeling that I am fulfilling my purpose.
Selar is here
Amazon is here